Fly­ing start de­lights Den­gate

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Sport -

Ash­ford Rugby Club made an en­cour­ag­ing start to life in Shep­herd Neame Kent 1 with a con­vinc­ing win away to Royal Bank of Scot­land on Satur­day.

Steve Tan­ner led the way in south east Lon­don, scor­ing a try, six con­ver­sions and a penalty against an RBS team who had won pro­mo­tion from Kent 2 last sea­son.

Ash­ford coach Chris Den­gate de­scribed some of his team’s han­dling as ex­cep­tional but was just as happy to have pre­vented the home side from scor­ing.

He said: “They’re not a bad side and they’ll beat teams RBS ASH­FORD but we were too much for them.

“Some of the tries we scored were top drawer, it was not a case of just plough­ing over.

“We’ve worked hard in pre­sea­son, we’ve fo­cused heav­ily on our de­fence and on a day when there were a fair amount of points scored in our divi­sion we were the only team to record a nil which was pleas­ing.”

Ash­ford, rel­e­gated from Lon­don 2 South East last sea­son, cer­tainly looked well pre­pared and started with an en­ergy which their hosts could not match.

It was Tan­ner who gave Ash­ford the lead with a penalty af­ter six min­utes and al­though they were guilty of forc­ing it too much early on with sev­eral han­dling er­rors, they did ex­tend their lead on 14 min­utes when the re­turn­ing Peter Walsh scored an easy try af­ter some strong work by the pack.

Three fur­ther tries fol­lowed be­fore half-time from Oli Finn, Tan­ner and Farai Myezwa giv­ing the vis­i­tors a 29-point cush­ion.

At this stage, the rain came which ef­fected Ash­ford’s abil­ity to move the ball at pace but the vis­it­ing pack con­tin­ued to make huge holes and a well­func­tion­ing li­ne­out al­lowed the back line to work off great set piece ball.

Andy Tice­hurst and Cal­lum Stuckey linked well with the backs and this con­ti­nu­ity al­lowed Ash­ford to play some fluid rugby.

Tom Kane scored an ex­cel­lent team try, be­fore Jake Cot­ton picked the ball up one handed to cre­ate a sec­ond try for Walsh.

Walsh’s cen­tre part­ner Danny Bushell then got in on the act bull­doz­ing over the line, with all con­verted by Tan­ner.

Changes were then made and all three re­place­ments had a pos­i­tive im­pact with Craig Cog­gle dom­i­nant in the scrum, Char­lie Col­man look­ing com­posed at 10 and Dan Brown com­ing on at No.8.

Some great hands led to two Brown breaks and both teams he was able to send Jack Weaver over to com­plete the scor­ing.

Den­gate ex­pects a closer con­test when Ash­ford host Cran­brook on Satur­day (3pm) but he says the play­ers are ready for any­thing that is thrown at them.

He added: “There’s a hunger and de­sire among the play­ers at the mo­ment and as a coach that’s great to see.

“We’ve got a lovely mix in the squad and the play­ers are hun­gry to go on and cre­ate their own legacy.”

Bec­ce­hamian 31 Gilling­ham An­cho­ri­ans 21, Cran­brook 24 Old Gravesendi­ans 27, HSBC 15 King’s Col­lege Hospi­tal 28, New Ash Green 20 South­wark Lancers 5, Royal Bank of Scot­land 0 Ash­ford 60, Sit­ting­bourne 31 Vigo 33.

Ash­ford v Cran­brook, Gilling­ham An­cho­ri­ans v Sit­ting­bourne, HSBC v Royal Bank of Scot­land, King’s Col­lege Hospi­tal v South­wark Lancers, Old Gravesendi­ans v Bec­ce­hamian, Vigo v New Ash Green.

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